1994: Best Picture

Photo by Engin Akyurt

Nominees: FOUR WEDDINGS AND A FUNERAL, FORREST GUMP, PULP FICTION, QUIZ SHOW, THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION

These are all excellent films. Three of them are expertly crafted period pieces while the remaining pair are bold experiments that push their genres forwards. Honestly, any one of these five could have been named the Best Picture of 1994 and not too many people would have batted an eye.

BULLETS OVER BROADWAY

Working with co-writer Douglas McGrath, Woody Allen manages to put a fresh spin on the gangster comedy. Bullets Over Broadway’s cup runneth over with memorable, ineffable characters enlivened by memorable, ineffable actors, especially Chazz Palminteri’s literate thug Cheech, Jennifer Tilly’s vapid actress Olive, and…


1994: Best Actress

Photo by Engin Akyurt

Nominees: Jodie Foster (NELL), Jessica Lange (BLUE SKY), Miranda Richardson (TOM & VIV), Winona Ryder (LITTLE WOMAN), Susan Sarandon (THE CLIENT)

It’s a bizarre list. There’s a wild woman who speaks in gibberish, a cheating wife, a discarded wife, a headstrong attorney, and Jo March. Big boisterous characters in need of big, boisterous performances, and each of the actresses does her level best.

Jamie Lee Curtis, TRUE LIES

Although the British Academy Awards have recognized Jamie Lee Curtis twice (for her delightful performances in Trading Places and A Fish Called Wanda), the Oscars have never even nominated her, yet further evidence that comedy just don’t get no respect, no respect at all. And make no mistake: Curtis gives one of the…


Best Actor: 1994

Photo by Engin Akyurt

Nominees: Morgan Freeman (THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION), Nigel Hawthorne (THE MADNESS OF KING GEORGE), Tom Hanks (FORREST GUMP), Paul Newman (NOBODY’S FOOL), John Travolta (PULP FICTION)

All of the nominees in 1994 were veteran actors — two of them had already won the Best Actor Oscar — but the real story of the evening was the resurgence of John Travolta. It took a lore-obsessed visionary like Quentin Tarantino to cast Travolta, whose most recent work had been the Look Who’s Talking series, as slick-haired gangster Vincent Vega, but none of that would have meant a thing if the actor hadn’t been up to the task. In the end, Travolta hit it out of the park and earned his second Academy Award nomination.


1993: Best Picture

Photo by Engin Akyurt

Nominees: THE FUGITIVE, IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER, THE PIANO, THE REMAINS OF THE DAY SCHINDLER’S LIST

With one exception, this is a fairly traditional list of nominees. There’s a political courtroom drama, the exotic romance, and two classy historical pieces. The addition of The Fugitive is remarkable (and commendable); in retrospect, the Andrew Davis action film remains one of the biggest and best of its genre.

DAVE

Dave is the kind of idealized hokum that Frank Capra used to make, and I mean that as a high compliment. But why wouldn’t writer-director Gary Ross sprinkle in elements from Capra’s Mr. Deeds Goes to Town and Mr. Smith Goes to…


1993: Best Actress

Photo by Engin Akyurt

Nominees: Angela Bassett (WHAT’S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT), Stockard Channing (SIX DEGREES OF SEPARATION), Holly Hunter (THE PIANO), Emma Thompson (THE REMAINS OF THE DAY), Debra Winger (SHADOWLANDS)

Though none of their films come even close to passing the Bechdel test, they all provided these five women with meaty roles, and each actress launched herself into character with full abandon. For example, I can’t recognize Angela Bassett or Holly Hunter at all in their respective movies, though I immediately recognize Tina Turner and Ada McGrath.

Patricia Arquette, TRUE ROMANCE

Patricia Arquette imbues her ingenue Alabama with just the right amount of credulity to fit in this live-action cartoon noir. We believe her when she falls…


When ‘write to market’ is wrong

Photo by Marcus Spiske on Pexels

Let’s assume you want to be a writer.


Best Actor: 1993

Photo by Engin Akyurt

Nominees: Daniel Day-Lewis (IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER), Laurence Fishburne (WHAT’S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT), Tom Hanks (PHILADELPHIA), Anthony Hopkins (THE REMAINS OF THE DAY), Liam Neeson (SCHINDLER’S LIST)


1992: Best Picture

Photo by Engin Akyurt

Nominees: THE CRYING GAME, A FEW GOOD MEN, HOWARD’S END, SCENT OF A WOMAN, UNFORGIVEN

Some years simply glow with cinematic excellence. Take, for example, 1939, which saw the release of enough immortal films to fill its own library: The Wizard of Oz, Stagecoach, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Dark Victory, Ninotchka, Gunga Din, Destry Rides Again, Only Angels Have Wings, The Women, Son of Frankenstein, La Règle du Jeu (The Rules of the Game), At the Circus, and the eventual Best Picture Winner, Gone with the Wind.


1992: Best Actress

Photo by Engin Akyurt

Nominees: Catherine Deneuve (INDOCHINE), Mary McDonnell (PASSION FISH), Michelle Pfeiffer (LOVE FIELD), Susan Sarandon (LORENZO’S OIL), Emma Thompson (HOWARD’S END)

While not nearly as stellar a year for female leading roles as it was for male leading roles, 1992 did offer a solid coterie of memorable celluloid women. Interestingly, all of these characters share a sense of defiance. These are not, despite wealth and circumstance, fortunate souls, but with the aid of friends and family, they fight. They fight for political independence, physical interdependence, racial justice, medical research, and for familial support, and through force of will, they win.

Geena Davis, A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN

Less than twelve months after imprinting the…


1992: Best Actor

Photo by Engin Akyurt

Official Nominees: Robert Downey Jr. (CHAPLIN), Clint Eastwood (UNFORGIVEN), Al Pacino (SCENT OF A WOMAN) Stephen Rea (THE CRYING GAME), Denzel Washington (MALCOLM X)

What a diversity of roles! We’ve got a tragicomic clown, two retired monsters, a love-struck terrorist, and a revolutionary activist. Of course, these magnificent leading characters wouldn’t mean half as much without the magnificent leading actors who inhabited them.

Daniel Day-Lewis, THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS

To follow up his perfectionist portrayal of a real-life artist with cerebral palsy, professional chameleon Daniel Day-Lewis reinvents himself here as an not-at-all-real 18th century action hero and romantic lead. …

Joshua Corin

Writer of comics for Marvel, novels for Random House, videos for Wisecrack, a bio for Medium. http://www.joshuacorin.com

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store